Caught in the Crossfire

Read: Lamentations 3:1-15

He bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow. (v. 12)

Following September 11, 2001, a few prominent Christian leaders were quick to assign blame—not to terrorists, but to their fellow Americans. These leaders argued that 9/11 was God’s judgment. They claimed they were innocently suffering for the sins of others.

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah declares he’s become the target of God’s wrath. If anyone in Israel could claim innocence, it was Jeremiah. He was unerringly obedient to God’s commands. He faithfully delivered God’s word, often at great personal cost. Why was Jeremiah, an innocent bystander, caught in the crossfire of God’s judgment?

I’m tempted to ask the same question. It’s easy for me to attribute my suffering to others’ shortcomings. My news and social media outlets are eager to help me blame the world’s problems on someone else. God doesn’t afford me that luxury. No, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). I’ve earned more than enough judgment all on my own. But this realization is crushing. What hope is there for me if even the most righteous human being deserves God’s condemnation?

Our hope lies in the fact that when God’s full judgment finally fell, someone stood in the crossfire for us. Isaiah spoke prophetically of the Savior who’d be “smitten by God, and afflicted” in our place (Isa. 53:4). In love, Jesus assumed our blame and assigned us his perfect righteousness.

As you pray, thank Jesus for standing in your place.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This entry is part 9 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent